Patti Smith Memoir to Become TV Series, Joan Didion’s Cult of Cool, and More


Every day Poets & Writers Magazine scans the headlines—from publishing reports to academic announcements to literary dispatches—for all the news that creative writers need to know. Here are today's stories:

“To be a Didion fan is to be a defender of the sharp and brutal edges, a champion of the dispassion, a forgiver—even an appreciator—of the simmering elitism.” At the Atlantic, Meghan Daum reviews Tracy Daugherty’s new biography of author Joan Didion, The Last Love Song (St. Martin’s Press), and examines Didion’s legacy as a “cool” figure.

Japanese publisher Shinchosa has released an eight-volume e-book, as well as an abridged print version, of novelist Haruki Murakami’s agony uncle responses to his fans’ queries. The best-selling author received 37,465 questions—on a wide range of topics—on his personal website earlier this year, and answered 3,716 of them. As of now, the book is only published in Japan, and there are no plans to publish an English translation. (Guardian)

Rock musician Patti Smith’s best-selling 2010 memoir Just Kids—which chronicles Smith’s relationship with photographer Robert Mapplethorpe—is being adapted into a television mini-series. Smith will produce and cowrite the series for Showtime. Her forthcoming memoir, M Train, is set to be released in early October. (Electric Literature)

Last week, it was announced that University of Akron Press would shutter due to school-wide budget cuts. Now, the university has appointed Jon Miller to serve as the interim director of the press, but despite the effort, some authors and others affiliated with the press are unsatisfied and wary about its future, as the university has not addressed issues of permanent funding or the hiring of staff. (Publishers Weekly)

“How did poor David Foster Wallace go from dissecting the pretensions and shortcomings of mid-century men of letters to holding a central place in the pretensions of their heirs?” With the release of the new biopic The End of the Tour, Molly Fischer considers how David Foster Wallace has come to represent the literary males he used to speak of with disdain. (New York Magazine)

With the continuous rise of people reading on smartphones, publishers are working to engage readers in new ways, such as providing location-based e-book access. (Wall Street Journal)

The novel is dead. Long live the novel. Writers Liesl Schillinger and Benjamin Moser discuss the various reasons for the recurrent proclamation of the death of the novel. (New York Times)